October 13, 2021 by Lauren Hampton
‘Gaux to Italy
No matter the style of wine you prefer, one thing’s for sure – there’s always something to be discovered in Italy. Known for its dramatic landscapes, diverse grape varieties, and a seemingly endless supply of wine, Italy has become synonymous with talented producers, high-quality bottles, and regional traditions that span decades (even centuries!) of history. The Italian way of life is one from which we could all learn a lesson: center your table around good food, delicious wine, and a whole lot of loved ones. With those bases covered, everything else just seems to fall into place!
We know that jetting off to Italy is likely not in your upcoming plans, so we thought we’d bring the magic of Italy straight to your home. Check out everything you need to know about this magnificent food-and-wine mecca in our ‘Gaux to Guide below. ‘Gaux to Italy – What to Know
Main Regions: Italy is home to 20 wine regions: Vallé d’Aosta, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Le Marche, Umbria, Abruzzo, Molise, Lazio, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sardinia, and Sicily.
Grape Varieties: There are over 2,000 grape varieties in Italy, though less than a quarter of them are regularly used in wines that hit the export market.
Fun fact: Although this statistic consistently bounces back and forth between Italy and France, today, Italy is the largest producer of wine in the entire world. Over 700,000 hectares of land are under vine, which are responsible for about ⅕ of the world’s annual wine production.
Location / How to Get There: Italy is home to a handful of international airports and dozens of smaller ones. For those interested in discovering the country’s more northerly wine regions, hop a flight to Milan and grab a train / rent a car from there. For central and southern Italian regions, flying into Rome is your best bet.
What to Know: Italy comprises 20 main wine regions, two of which are located on islands. Certain areas (Tuscany, Piedmont, and Veneto, for example) are more popular on the international market than other regions, though each area’s viticultural scene is unique and interesting in its own right. No matter which type of travel you prefer (beach, mountains, or city-focused), Italy’s got a viticultural area lurking not too far away!
Not to Miss: While the obvious regions of Tuscany and Piedmont always make for unforgettable trips, we recommend venturing off-the-beaten path to lesser-known regions for some seriously delicious discoveries. Can’t get enough smokey, acid-driven wines in your life? Venturing down to Sicily will be right up your alley. Love a side of history with your wine? Check out the lost city of Pompeii while indulging in local Campanian bottles. Sleepy beach towns and easy-drinking whites more your thing? Head east to the regions of Abruzzo and Puglia to visit the seaside towns of Pescara and Bari, respectively (and be sure to stock up on a solid supply of local juice).
*Note: Each kit includes one bottle of Ottomani Olive Oil!
Longing for a taste of the Italian Alps? This cool-climate Pinot Grigio promises to satisfy your craving. Located in the hills of Alto Adige, Weingut Griesbauerhof has been in the Mumelter family since the late 18th century. Today, winemaker Georg Mumelter sustainably farms the family’s high altitude vines at over 300 meters above sea level. This 100% Pinot Grigio is vinified entirely in steel for the sake of preserving the fruit’s natural acidity. Crisp notes of citrus fruit, pear, and dried herbs lead to a clean, mineral-driven finish. Sip with lemon butter pasta, chicken piccata, or a variety of grilled fish.
The only thing better than a glass of Chianti Classico? One produced from organic/biodynamically-farmed vineyards at the hands of four longtime friends, of course. This delicious expression from Ottomani is crafted from organically-farmed fruit in Greve, located just 17 kilometers from the city of Florence. Fruit is hand harvested and spontaneously ferments with 10% whole bunches prior to aging for 14 months in concrete. Expect flavors of red fruit, dried oregano, balsamic, game and tobacco leaf to lead to an acid-driven finish. Fair warning, this may become your new favorite Sunday Supper pairing.
Ottomani was founded in 2006 by four friends who met while pursuing oenology degrees at the University of Florence. Post-graduation, the group found their dream farm in the heart of the Colli Fiorentini DOCG in the heart of Tuscany’s Chianti region. Today, the farm is entirely self-sustaining, equipped with solar panels, a water well, livestock, a vegetable garden, and of course, a thriving vineyard. All farming is done organically and biodynamically.
In addition to crafting world-class Chianti, the friends also produce this tasty extra virgin olive oil using regional varieties that honor a thousands-year-old tradition. We recommend drizzling it over pizza, pasta, or simply using it as a dip for crusty, homemade bread – served alongside a pour of the estate’s delicious wine, of course!